Oakland secured a sweep of the division rival Angels today, beating them 10-6 in the final game of the series for the Athletics’ first sweep since June. Feels good doing it against a rival too.
Opening Day starter Kyle Muller got the ball today, making his 13th start for the club. The left-handed rookie got off to a solid start as he allowed only a walk and a hit through the first three innings while collecting a pair of strikeouts. Los Angeles starter Tyler Anderson was doing more of the same though, only hitting an Oakland batter through three frames.
The game saw its first runs come in the fourth from the away team. Los Angeles struck first thanks to a two-run homer from Eduardo Escobar to give the Angels the lead. That was soon followed by a single and RBI double to extend it to 3 runs. Muller also had a bad two-bases throwing error but the runner probably would have scored anyway. At this point he was already at 78 pitches and he wouldn’t go another frame. Muller’s day was done after just three innings.
Oakland had an excellent chance to come right back in the bottom half of the inning. Three straight walks loaded the bases with no outs for the A’s so they needed to cash in at least one run. The next three batters struck out, popped out, and struck out again, ending the frame and killing an excellent chance to tie it up.
With Muller out of the game, Mark Kotsay turned to righty Adrian Martinez hoping to get some length out of him. The club did after all go through five relievers yesterday. He pitched a clean fifth and sixth in impressive fashion with three strikeouts.
Meanwhile it was getting late and the A’s were still without a hit after five inning. Oakland needed a hit badly and they got one from rookie second baseman Zack Gelof when he legged out an infield single that replay was needed on. Good challenge from Kotsay and he was immediately rewarded for it. With the no-hitter gone, first baseman Ryan Noda came to the plate:
That long ball was Noda’s 13th of the season and cut the Los Angeles lead to just one. Maybe more impressively is that was the lefty Noda’s 5th of the year against a lefty pitcher. Splits? What splits?
Oakland wasn’t done there. A single finally chased Anderson out of the game for the Angels. Kotsay really was pressing all the right buttons today as Seth Brown pinch-hit for Jordan Diaz and gave Oakland the lead:
For those counting at home, the A’s started the inning down three. Two 2-run homers later and it was an Oakland lead heading to the seventh.
With a lead, Kotsay kept Martinez in for the seventh inning and he finally made a wrong decision. A one-out solo homer from Angels right fielder Luis Rengifo tied this game all up at four apiece. After all that, this game would come down to a battle of the bullpens.
And the Los Angeles bullpen absolutely imploded. The Athletics scored six times in the seventh inning, emphatically putting this game away. Clubhouse leader Tony Kemp got the scoring started with a bases-clearing 3-run single….
One run scores, two runs score, everybody scores! pic.twitter.com/QVBDAYm0Jd— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 3, 2023
… followed by the hot-hitting Shea Langeliers coming up with a 2-run double to push it to 9-4:
Shea Langeliers: future insurance agent pic.twitter.com/rImdq3Q98B— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 3, 2023
Young outfielder Lawrence Butler got in on the action too, adding an RBI single for good measure. Given a 6-run lead, the bullpen just needed to not implode like the Angels just did.
And they mostly came through. Francisco Perez got a couple outs, Dany Jimenez had a perfect eighth inning with a couple strikeouts. Kirby Snead got into a bit of trouble in the ninth by allowing a couple runs, so Trevor May came in and was able to finish the Angels off and secure a sweep for the Athletics with his 17th save.
I had forgotten how nice a sweep is. Even better against these Angels. Muller was shaky and the bats didn’t do anything in the first half of today’s game. But things turned around fast as the bats exploded for 10 runs today in just two innings. It got a little dicey there at the end but a win is a win, and this was a series sweep win. Take it any way it comes.
The club how prepares to welcome the Toronto Blue Jays for a midweek three-game series. It’ll be Ken Waldichuk going for the Athletics tomorrow and Jose Berrios getting the ball for Toronto. Is it too much to ask for back-to-back sweeps?